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Lorenzo Martone (or LoLo, as we like to call him), has been a firm friend of R29 New York since we launched over three years ago. Indeed, you might remember that pic of him shirtless in his living room. Amazing abs aside, we're all for the multi-talented creative's latest venture, Martone Cycling Co., a collection of super-luxe bikes that are made for see-and-be-seen urban pedaling. With standout hues, including vibrant cherry red, a stark-and-sleek white, or a blinged-out gold (and look at those old-school coasters!), we're calling these vintage-looking wheels the It accessory of spring.
But, that's not to say they're all style, no substance. They're fit enough for any city warrior — each MCC bike is powered by SRAM's top-of-the-line duomatic gear system that makes for a one-of-a-kind riding experience. Plus, who doesn't need an extra-large basket to stow all your baguettes, picnic blankets, Céline totes — you get where we're going with this.
Lo's passion for pedaling started back as a tot, when Santa gave him a bike that became his best friend. Yes, he even named it. (Fina, if your curious — Portuguese for skinny.) Man, are we glad he's channeling his childhood nostalgia? To get in on these velocipedes — perfect apartment decor, right? — we quizzed Martone over mimosas (and after a very competitive race) about all things bicycle. If you're ever wondering if a bike can make you sexy — read on. Or, just look at Lorenzo's legs.
Why did you decide to start designing bikes?
"My decision came from a simple drive in life: 'Work on something you love and it won't feel like work,' as well as moving into the the West Village and realizing that my bike would now have to be in the living room — I figured it had to look amazing!
Because of my background in PR and advertising, I had such a good time putting together the business plan, the concept, the branding — I feel like I'm joining a new industry without having to disconnect from the past."
Are you a good cyclist? Be honest!
"I am! A 'good' bike rider means a couple of different things:
- Studying the route beforehand. (I love an iPhone app called Bikester NYC — it tells you where all the bike lanes are.)
- Respecting cars and pedestrians. Some bikers tend to think there are special rules for bikes, but in fact, there aren't. They are the same applied to motorbikes. And, that includes stopping at the red lights!
- Feel the environment: Bikes are just the best way for you to connect with your environment — whether it's a street or a trail, it doesn't matter — you should engage with the space you're in."
Does having a bike make you sexier?
"I think so. Or, at least it makes your legs look sexier. I barely work out my legs at the gym and I have big legs — all thanks to biking. Jokes side, I do think they make people look sexier, because bikes are nostalgic, romantic, adventurous, outdoorsy and healthy. It's a transportation for the brave. And, we love the free and the brave!"
What's your favorite place to bike in NYC?
"The West Side Highway. It's unbelievably gorgeous — the view, the parks, the sunset. It's also so convenient because it unifies downtown to uptown like no other bike lane. It's a place where I can ride my bike without having to worry about red lights and cars, but it's still so connected to the city. Riding by the water re-energizes me, and the reflection of the sun on it is mesmerizing."
Is matching your bike to your outfit cheesy or chic?
"I wouldn't say matching your outfit to your bike is the way to go — think about all the bikes you'd have to have (and where would you store them?). But, I strongly believe that choosing a bike should be a reflection of your personal style. I designed bikes in monochromatic tones because I feel you can pair your favorite color to the outfits you want to wear — matching or not matching. If you choose an all-white, all-gold, or all-red bike, that will say something about your personality, n'est–ce pas? A bike is a bold statement of choice of lifestyle, so the design should follow. My advice is to choose a bike that will say something about who you are!"
Photo: Courtesy of Martone Cycling Co.